[EDITORIALS]Gloom and governanceHow do Koreans feel about the current situation of this country? Three out of four are uneasy, according to the findings of a poll conducted by the JoongAng Ilbo.
The reason is the economy. Four out of five people said that the economy is under strain, and pessimism is in the air. Twice the number of people predict that the future will be worse than believe things will improve.
Is the economy that bad off? Maybe or maybe not, but the fact that people believe it is can itself increase social anxiety. Poll respondents said issues related to the economy must be tackled: rising prices, unemployment and the gap between rich and poor.
According to the poll, people believe that economic development and political stability, which ranked as only the fourth and fifth most important issues, can be put off until their stomachs are full. People are concerned about earning today’s bread.
If the people are feeling so strained, how can we explain the government’s claims that economic indicators have improved? The only conclusion we can come to is that life for a minority of people has improved, but the majority are in worse condition. Polarization has increased.
In conclusion, current policies have failed. About 56 percent of respondents said the president has done nothing worthwhile.
That makes it clear what the government must do. It has to put all its efforts into stimulating the economy, which is what the people want. It must not turn its eyes from the road to look at issues like coalition cabinets or constitutional revisions.
The administration must work for social unification. It must no longer divide society into the haves and the have-nots. It must pursue policies that seek unification ― from conflicts between eastern and western regions and ultimately to include North-South Korea issues.
It must not exploit social splits for political purposes. That would only continue the string of failures, and the end result will be a millstone around the neck of this administration and of the country as a whole. The administration must coax the wealthy into investing and spending more instead of trying to rob them.
We must also recognize that people acknowledge the administration’s good work, such as reducing corruption and injustice. We must not forget that the people are cool-headed in their evaluations. We hope that in the next two years and four months, the administration does its best to earn high marks from the people.